CdA Resort plans ice rink

An ice skating rink may open on the lawn of the Coeur d’Alene Resort this winter if the City Council approves.

The 50-by-80-foot rink would encroach about 15 feet onto common area between the resort and Independence Point.

The city’s General Services Committee – composed of three council members – voted Monday to send the proposal to the full council Sept. 4.

“Fun,” Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander said. “It sounds like it’d be fun.”

The temporary, portable rink would be open from November through Jan. 15, according to the proposal. No public money would be used and skating would be open to everyone. “If you look at a lot of some of the other really wintry, Christmasy destination locations, an ice rink seems to be a pretty prevalent activity,” Coeur d’Alene Resort General Manager Bill Reagan said Monday.

Admission fees estimated at $5 for children and $9 for adults would be charged, along with a skate rental fee of about $3. About 100-125 people could skate at a time, Reagan said.

This season will be a trial to see if there’s enough interest to support a permanent facility in another location, which would be costly to build and maintain, Reagan said.

“It’s something we’d definitely like to do on a permanent basis,” Reagan said. “We feel it fits with Coeur d’Alene’s image.”

The resort is promoting the rink as a “South Pole Skating Village” to complement the Christmastime “Cruise to the North Pole” that takes visitors to a lakeside home decorated as Santa’s workshop, according to a news release.

Visitors to Coeur d’Alene’s city beach Monday afternoon welcomed the idea.

“Anything fun to do in the winter is good,” said Coeur d’Alene resident Tracy Newton. “Right now, we have to go to Spokane to skate.”

Moscow resident John Roach and his wife, Debbie, said their 9-year-old daughter, Erin, uses the Moscow skating rink regularly. “Those kids love it – they don’t care how cold it is,” Roach said.

Originally, the resort was asking the city’s OK to put a portable ice rink in a small parking lot that is mostly owned by the Hagadone Corp., but partly in the public right-of-way.

That proposal was pulled Monday morning because the site “wasn’t going to be suitable” due to the contours of the parking lot, Reagan said. By midday, a modified proposal was back on the table.

The entire area where the proposed ice rink would sit – including the public property – “is maintained by the resort,” Deputy City Administrator Jon Ingalls said. “They pay the water bill and cut the grass.”

After skating season, the resort plans to re-sod the area.

Councilman Al Hassell said he believes the ice rink is “probably a worthy experiment” and recommended the proposal be approved.

The proposed agreement would hold the city harmless for any injuries or damages and assures the rink would be open for public use. The resort would pay installation and operating costs and a $500 administrative permit fee.

Reagan said the rink will add to the activities in downtown during the winter months and to the excitement of the resort’s holiday program. Terry Cooper, manager of the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association, said a public skating rink sounds like something the association “would probably strongly support.”

“During the holidays, downtown businesses always try to promote a family fun time of year,” Cooper said. “We think it could be a very fun thing for families to come down, spend some time together and enjoy ice skating outside.”

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